Nov 272006

Chanel Winter knew she had a passion for dancing ever since she got her first taste of it in sixth grade.

So when the senior marketing major got the opportunity to open her own dance studio, she pounced.

“The opportunity just kind of came together,” she said. “So I went ahead and did it.”

Winter, 21, opened Inertia Performing Arts, located on the southeast corner of Harmony Road and College Avenue, which offers dance classes for all ages.

Dance classes offered at the studio run the gamut from ballet, jazz and tap to hip-hop and break dancing. Voice and acting classes are also available for all skill levels.

Winter taught dance in Fort Collins for about three years at the GK Gymplex, a dance and gymnastics center for kids, and spent two of those years as the artistic director. So running a program was nothing new, she said.

“I wanted to do it for myself instead of someone else,” Winter said.

Winter said her goal is to give people in Fort Collins the opportunity to dance and have fun. She’d eventually like to open more dance studios and even a formal performing arts academy.

Winter spent several summers dancing in Los Angeles and said she admired the sense of family she experienced in other studios.

“There aren’t a lot of studios in Fort Collins,” she said. “I wanted to create a fun atmosphere like I’ve seen in other places.”

After securing the location, at 115 E. Harmony Rd., Winter took out a loan and got the project started with the help of her parents and friends.

“A lot of people came together to make this work,” she said.

Friends of Winter recognized her passion for dance and desire to open her own business and offered their support.

“She did it all herself,” said Ross Carpenter, a senior finance major who went to high school with Winter. Carpenter is also involved in CSU’s entrepreneurship certificate program with Winter.

Winter said the biggest challenge she’s faced has been trying to juggle the business and school while still trying to have a personal life; something she said has to take a backseat for now.

“I think she’s really ambitious for taking this on at her age,” said Deana Waite, a junior journalism major who worked with Winter at the GK Gymplex. “It just blows me away.”

For Winter, confidence was key when opening her own business. And ultimately, it came down to simply doing it.

“Don’t hesitate or second guess yourself,” she said. “Just make it happen.”

Staff writer Megan Trusty can be reached at

Inertia Performing Arts is located at 115 E. Harmony Rd.

Inertia also offers drop-in classes where people can stop in and pay for one class, without purchasing a full membership. Membership rates vary and a student discount is offered for selected packages.

Drop-in class rates:

10-class punch card (with student ID) – $90

Single one hour class- $15

Single hour and a half class- $18

For more information call 377-1800 or email

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